Monday, December 25, 2006

guess who got a digital camera for Christmas?

There's my wonderful family in all the fun things I made them this Christmas. Glow in the dark PJ's and bathrobes, no sew ponchos, big fat pillow and agloriously bright quilt. I am so excited to have a digital camera, I will probably be a big pain in the butt now that I have this thing, but I don't care. I will enjoy it!!!

What a fun last couple of days we've had. The best part was watching the joy on the kids' faces as they gave the gifts that they had gotten for each other and for us. What fun to see the joy of giving on their faces. Lots of good fun and food and friends and family. Give the letter 'F' a hand for helping us out with the holidays! We're off on travelling adventures tomorrow morning. Better go get some sleep! Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

1. I am thankful for encouraging friends like Lloanne, Connie, Linda, Krista, Holly, Ninette and Sarah.
2. I am thankful for my moms and my sisters; Marie, Velma, Donna, Darlene, Denise, Sonya and Tamara.
3. I am thankful for glow-in-the dark flannel and beautifully soft fleece, that's on sale!
4. I am thankful that I can say I have girls - plural and boys - plural - and husband - singular!!
5. I am thankful for Bec Abbot and her song, "Thrive"

This is what we sang and danced around to this morning as we 'secured the atmosphere' in our home this morning (S and S loved that we were playing the CD so loud!)

Gonna Thrive,
Be,
Live Abundantly
Walk through open doors
Celebrate this life I'm livin'.............

Saturday, December 09, 2006

1. I am thankful that there are moments when I really love being a mom.
2. I am thankful that there are moments when things actually go better than you plan.
3. I am thankful for Tetley tea.
4. I am thankful for clean, sweet smelling little boys fresh from the tub.
5. I am thankful for my sister.

Friday, December 08, 2006

babies, ponchos and thanksgiving

more things to be thankful for:

1. A husband who loves me and is gorgeous to look at besides (believe it or not he thinks the same thing about me!)
2. A forgiving God who shows me my error and loves me anyway - like when I lose it and yell at my son - there is no excuse for that - but God, and my son both forgave me.
3. My new nephew - Sonya had a baby boy in the wee hours of this morning. Welcome to the world baby Joshua
4. Fabricland - the source of all my Christmas goodies so far.
5. On-line ideas for simple, creative, wonderful and inexpensive gifts - like the one I'll tell you about below.

NO-SEW PONCHO - this was an idea from frugalmommy, but I have Canadianized it and added in a few more ideas and sizes to make it my own!

Really and truly, this takes no sewing and looks fabulous. I wish I had pictures but I still don't own a digital camera (hint, hint). I made seven of these in about 1 hour!

Materials:
1 m of lovely fleece (on sale right now at Fabricland) - this will make 2 30x30 fleece ponchos
a pair of scissors
a measuring device

1. Fold the fabric in half and cut.
2. Trim to make it exactly 30" x 30" for a younger girl (K- gr 4 age or so) for toddlers - 27" x 27" for baby girl 20" x 20" is good (note: if you're making them for babies you can get more ponchos out of one meter of fabric.
3. Fold fleece diagonally.
4. Find the center by folding diagonally again (mark center with a pin)
5. Unfold one fold so that the fleece is still folded once.
6. Mark 2.5" on either side of your center pin (a little less for baby size)
7. Cut a semi-circle from outer pin to outer pin - you may want to use a small bowl or cut out a semi-circle from paper to have something to cut around.
8. Personalize your poncho:
a. cut a fringe around the edge
b. cut a fringe around the edge, slide a bead on and knot it
c. cut a fringe around the edge, knot the fringes
d. cut out a flower, heart, star or something other shape from another coordinating fabric and use fabric glue, Heat 'n' Bond, or sewing to add it to your poncho

That's it - so fun and so easy. My girls are gonna look so cute in their matching bright lime green ponchos!

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

oh to be thankful

Maybe I should write 'unencouraged' posts more often.

While the world hasn't changed much in my four walls, I am feeling a little less down. Reading in Hebrews 12 where is states that this is the race that was marked out for us made me stop and think. God planned for me to walk the road that I'm walking on. He has arranged for me to experience all these things to make my character what it needs to be so that I will be able to fulfill the call He has placed on my life. (that's in James) He's also surrounded me with witnesses and friends to cheer me on so that I can keep on going.

Nin wrote about what happens when you quit feeding your body and how it gets used to being fed a certain way. I realized that I need to make sure my spiritual self is getting fed if I'm going to be able to endure. I don't want to be a race drop-out.

Sonya asked in the comments if I need to be encouraging...I think I do. The word of God asks me to encourage people and here at fresh flowers I want to be that. It was the original intent of this blog, and even though it isn't a widely read blog at least for those who come here, I want to think that they've read something that will at least bring a smile to their face and pick them up a little. It also forces me to think 'happy thoughts' and not dwell on the negative - which seems to be what I'm doing too much of the time lately. So maybe for the rest of December if I manage to get to the blogging world I will commit myself to writing what I'm grateful for.

Here's the beginning of my grateful Christmas list:

1. I am thankful for the people who come by and read - whether or not you leave comments!
2. I am thankful that I am living a life I've dreamed of - being a wife, mom, teacher.
3. I am thankful that I have wonderful friends and family who love me and encourage me.
4. I am thankful for the creativity God has given me and the ability to make some of my ideas come to light.
5. I am thankful for the skills I've gained from my mom to make Christmas gifts for my friends and family in a frugal, yet beautiful way.

that feels much bettter! smile

Sunday, December 03, 2006

blathering

feel like writing something but don't have much to say...not sure anyone reads this thing anyway

been cooped up with sick kids for three weeks - haven't been to church

feel

isolated
want to get out for awhile

i'm an introvert constantly surrounded by people

way too much stress going on around here

waiting for a phone call that hasn't come yet

it will

just taking time

waiting for my entire life to change is not easy and i'm not doing well at being peaceful

would like to scream and throw things for a brief moment

crying is good, less damaging

hard to find time to do all the things that need to be done
only one of me
so many of everything else

house is quiet, tree is pretty in the dark
relative cleanness - as clean as it can be with 8 people constantly running around

without corporate worship, every day is the same

spending time with Sam was rather wonderful this morning, I will cherish those memories...doesn't happen very often

not very encouraging am i?

guess i'll go to bed
tomorrow is another day
more of the same
sigh

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sabbatical

I have been reading alot about sabbatical and rest and all that. After the last year of high stress and such I'm feeling a wee bit drained. I've been writing fresh flowers for quite some time now and it seems good to my husband, the Holy Spirit and myself to take a rest. So there won't be much around here for the next three months. However, I would appreciate your prayers as I do the following:

1. Rest from writing

2. Refresh my spirit so that there is more to give

3. Ponder the process of huge life changing decision making that we are in the middle of.

Oh yeah, we have 4 gift sets of Fresh Flowers - an inspirational journal and King of All Creation CDs left. That's all they'll ever be, we aren't making anymore. So whoever yells first will get them. $25 for both - a steal of a deal!

And now, I am going to eat late night KD with my wonderful husband and begin resting...aaaahhhh

Thursday, November 16, 2006

fresh flowers for Nov 15

This is an excerpt from "Heart to Heart" - a newsletter I receive. I don't think I could say this any better!

Lani


THE APPLE SERMON
Thanks to Annamarie Kresge in Virginia for this devotional!

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago . They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples.
Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. All but one. He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.
He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.
The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.
The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?"
She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly." As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister....." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?"
He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"
Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world (shopping, working, reacting to others that are serving us) that is blind to His love, life and grace.
If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.
You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit. Let us live like we are worth the price He paid.
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

Our lives are full of brokenness - broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful, except by returning again and again to God's faithful presence in our lives.

Make no judgements where you have no compassion.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Yeah for Oxy-Clean! Mr. Sketch markers do come out with soaking and prayer!! My couch covers look lovely once again. My fabric therapy led towards making lovely cushion covers for my couch and my bed. My baby screamed all night so I wasn't so chipper today. More fabric therapy...family birthday party. Hangin' out.

Friday, November 10, 2006

fabric therapy time

4 of my 6 children are away at sleep-overs as ov 1:30 pm, Friday, November 10, 2006. My eldest has a friend over for a long-overdue promise to have a LOTR video marathon. Just the babe to contend with! Fabric therapy may actually happen.

Definition of fabric therapy - I go sew something pretty that I don't have to sew, just because I want to and it's fun!

The dirty bathrooms will wait, won't they?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

mindless posting

why am I up and blogging at this hour?

- cause the alarm system went off
- realized the dog chewed through the wire
- blogged while my multi-talented honey fixed the problem
- blogged while my very awake honey drank chai and read over my shoulder
- blogging while doggie goes out to do his business

need to get doggie in before doggie wakes up entire neighborhood - must be responsible pet owner
-really tired, long day, need to figure out how to remove purple Mr. Stinky marker from couch

ok done now

fresh flowers for Nov 10

3 for 1 event
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Fresh flowers continue to pop up regularly in my day, however, getting them to the display case seems to be a bit of a difficult thing to do since my baby showed up! So, here are a few tidbits that have been running around in my head until a fuller bouquet can be made...

Halloween - a blessed event

Yup, I think I've converted. I think that there are probably more people who act Christ-like on Halloween then any other day of the year. When else do people go out of their way to spend money on total strangers? When else do people fling open their doors and give to whoever asks? When else do we have the freedom to knock on our neighbor's doors and invite ourselves in, be it ever so briefly? When else do we have the opportunity for the world to come to our door so we can love them? Hide in my basement with all my lights off and be miserly? I think not...

Home - truly where your heart is

As we contemplate the possibility of moving again, not just across town but to a whole other life style and area we have have to make some mental adjustments. What is a house after all but four walls and a roof? Any place that is warm and dry will do in the end. When we looked at the faces of our six children and each other, my husband and I realized that we can be home wherever we are as long as we can have these that are most precious with us.

Then we contemplated moving on a far more eternal scale as we said good-bye to our friends' young son. Home is really not here at all. We truly are just passing through in these temporary shells. Home is in heaven, where we'll be all that we were created to be, finally.

Dehydration

It's amazing how exciting a pee-filled diaper can be after waiting for over 12 hours to see one happen. We had some nasty flu and cold bugs running through our house over the last two weeks which hit the girls the hardest. The process of rehydration is tedious and lengthy. We needed to feed Elizabeth every 15 minutes a tiny bit of liquid, hoping it would stay in her system long enough that eventually she would absorb enough liquid to eliminate wastes once again. Dehydration in babies can be a serious, even deadly thing. While I was going through this process I realized I was feeling a bit dry myself, but in the spiritual sense.

Re-hydrating my spiritual self wasn't that different than what I was doing with my daughter's physical body. Little bits, very often and soon the wastes start coming out. Then you can handle greater volumes and then finally back to solid food again. It isn't good for us to get spiritually dehydrated, unfortunately the symptoms present themselves far too often. I have no tears left, I'm listless and have no energy to fight against the onslaught of the enemy that is trying to take over my system. My mouth is dry, there is no praise or thanksgiving being offered, and the toxins aren't being flushed out of my system. Won't take long and I'll wither up. How's your hydration level?

LARGE FAMILY BONUSES: While it's true that in a large family it's difficult to find time to yourself, it's also easy to find someone to talk to or to get a hug from because there's always someone around.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sad and Glad

Our dear friends Carebear and Firestarter had to say good-bye to their oldest son this morning. At 6:30 AM, Caleb got his first chance at singing, "Hallelujah", he got to run and jump and dance today. He got to test out perfectly clear lungs and taste things for the first time. Best of all, he got to run and jump around with Jesus and express his heart like never before.

We will miss you Caleb, but you've done your job, you have touched all of our hearts...

fresh flowers for Oct 27

The Kingdom in My Garden
©2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

I should have a green thumb if it could be passed on genetically – but I don’t. In my own defence I have actually kept several house plants alive – one even has about a 5 year span in my house, it’s even moved once. No, I have never claimed to be an excellent gardener but those living green things certainly teach me a lot of lessons. Here’s what I’ve learned this summer…

The zeal of the immature does not necessarily produce a good crop. There was a very obvious demarcation line in my garden between where I seeded and where I let my kids seed. Too much of a good thing doesn’t allow the seed to grow. Too little seed doesn’t provide sufficient companionship to the struggling loner – they tend to get ripped out along with the weeds or trampled. Of course no seed produces no crop at all. The spiritual application is pretty obvious. The kingdom needs us to be wise, mature and discerning in how, when and where we seed the gospel into the soil of people’s lives.

You can’t judge a potato by its skin. We have garden soil that is overly rich in nitrogen (that Soil Science degree does come in handy sometimes). This produces very scabby potatoes. They aren’t pretty to look at, their skin is rough rather than smooth. That roughness makes them difficult to peel but once you get passed that you have a potato like any other potato. It cooks, smells and tastes like every other potato. I must confess that I was prejudiced against my scabby potatoes. When someone suggested it wasn’t worth the trouble to dig them up I did just that. A little later someone suggested I really ought to make the effort, after all they are the same on the inside. I realized that this advisor was the wiser and decided I better get them in. Still I procrastinated. My dad warned me that I had only three days to get them in or I would lose them to the frost. I lost them friends. I lost my potato harvest because of laziness and prejudice. I didn’t make it a priority and I have no idea what kind of harvest I may have had because of my own neglect. Sad isn’t it? We do this every day. We say that the color of a person’s skin determines their worth and we don’t bother to go after the good stuff inside. We wait. We procrastinate. We’re lazy. The kingdom loses a harvest because of our neglect. Rather sobering isn’t it?

We are all in need of support. I couldn’t get at my tomato cages when we transplanted so they never got caged. Those plants grew to great proportions and their fruit and branches sagged to the ground. They needed a little propping up, a little support under the laden branches, some encouragement to lift their heads. We lost a few tomatoes to ground rot because of that. Thanks to my mom’s observations she was able to prop up a few with boards, but it was a good lesson.

Lack of wisdom combined with laziness will rob you of provision. We gathered in a great many tomatoes, they were great producers (thanks to my parents who grew them from seed). We grew a little tired of picking, washing, coring and freezing tomatoes. There was a lull when the cool weather struck and so we had a break from picking since they weren’t ripening as quickly. Then the frost warnings came out. We knew we should really get the rest of the crop in or we’d lose it. We sent the boys out to pick. They were not the owners and do not like tomatoes, they had no love for the crop and did a haphazard job, not fully bringing what they picked into the house but leaving them outside. The frost hit that night and all was lost. We lacked wisdom in sending out immature harvesters. We lacked wisdom in not supervising what they had done to make sure they finished the job. We did not put a high enough value on the crop (once again) to do it properly and again, lost some of the provision that could have been ours. Those poor tomatoes, left to the elements became food for birds and weaponry for young boys who like to throw things at each other. They were utterly destroyed.

My garden misadventures stand in sharp contrast to the way in which the harvesting at the farm took place. Following his dad’s lead my husband worked from sun-up till well past sundown taking the crop off the field. They persevered through daily breakdowns because they knew that this crop was their bread and butter for the rest of the year. They did not slow or take breaks until it was done; everything in the bins or on the ground in rings and under tarps. I can’t imagine what disarray the farm would be in if my father-in-law treated his farm like I treated my garden this summer.

I didn’t do it all wrong, I got a very nice crop of beans, peas and corn. I canned many jars of applesauce, plums, apricots, cherries and peaches. While there is more that could have been mine, I have learned some valuable lessons. The old saying, “make hay while the sun shines’ can be applied here, or perhaps translated, ‘take in the harvest in its season’. Harvesting is tiring, back-breaking work, but it is only a short season. There are many souls that have not yet been harvested for the kingdom of God, let’s not lose them to do immaturity, lack of wisdom, laziness or prejudice, they are our inheritance and we don’t want to lose that!
CONCERT OF THE HEART
Presents
Jaylene Johnson

Saturday Nov. 4th 7:30
Hope Fellowship Church
809 32nd St. W
A love offering will be taken.

Jaylene Johnson takes a deep breath and tours again.

It was two years ago that Winnipeg singer/songwriter Jaylene Johnson crossed Canada on a solo tour that took her from Campbell River to the Maritimes by car. This is the first tour Jaylene has undertaken since then due a terrifying and near fatal car crash at the end of her 2004 tour.
“The accident was a literal crash-course in what really matters in life…It’s scary to travel so extensively again…But I’m still here, and maybe part of the reason is to keep getting my songs out there.”

Jaylene’s music has moved well beyond the realm of local acclaim. Songs have found their way to several placements through SONY Pictures TV, for shows such as CBS’s Joan of Arcadia and ABC’s Beautiful People, and the DVD release of Season 6 for Dawson’s Creek. “Finding Beautiful” also took off when she registered with CD Baby and received a glowing review on their front page. More recently, her music has been used in two independent short films by new York based director Joyce Storey, and her song “Butterfly Girl” has been recorded by a new trio called “Braided”, formed by three of last year’s Canadian Idol finalists and woven together by Canadian Idol music director, Mark Lalama.

Jaylene will be performing at Hope Fellowship Church on
Saturday, November 4th at 7:30

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Murder and Mayhem

This is what happens when you combine the following ingredients:

2 moms
11 children
2 sewing machines
2 quilts
1 deadline
1 pot of hamburger soup
1 batch of carrots that needs to be processed
unlimited number of Thomas the Tank Engine videos
uncountable number of Mini Wheats injested
1 dog
1 trespassing cat
1 neighbourhood kid
1 computer
2 dads (they came later)
1 chicken dinner complete with dessert
3 sleep-overs
1 evening of harp and bowl worship

then take away
1 mom
2 dads
2 kids

So........WHODUNIT....who was the murderer and who got murdered?

Those of you who know the answer are not allowed to guess!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Been Farmin' Long?

Since my big hunky husband was out a men's ministry meeting last night (was supposed to be our date night)...I had a date with my oldest son, kept him up ridiculously late playing The Farming Game - a remarkably realistic board game where you harvest various crops and can invest in diversification crops like cows and fruit.

My son cleaned up on me. Normally the winner is declared after a set period of time (who has the most net worth) or the first one to reach $250 000 in net worth. Welllllllllllllllllllll, when all was said and done my young tycoon had over 3.7 million in net worth. He just couldn't do anything wrong. It was so fun to watch him.

I did rather well myself with just over 2.7 million, my harvesting didn't pan out quite as well as his. He kept bugging me that he could buy my assets with the cash he had on hand (at one point that was almost, but not quite, true, then the market turned and I made some serious coin).

We have so much fun playing that game. Have had a few friends over lately to play, too. Might have to make a habit of that.......having friends over, playing games....way too much fun!

So anyone wanna go farmin'?

Monday, October 16, 2006

things and stuff

Feeling the need to post something. Not much to say. WAs down for a whole week with a whopper headache due to locked up muscles in my shoulders and neck from nursing. Who knew my sweet girl could cause such pain after she was delivered.

We have an honest-to-goodness mystery in our house. All of our kids piano books went missing. Between bedtime on Tuesday night and 9:00 the next morning they disappeared and no one knows anything about it. We even offered the kids a reward for whoever 'found' them, but they aren't offering anything up. Maybe the dog ate them. Kinda frustrating since we just got back into the piano lesson groove.

Got curriculum for the big guy! Lovin' that. He has to set goals for himself and then try to meet them each day. He's systematically studying something. His Social studies unit is on stewardship - I love it!! He loves it. We're happy. Homeschooling as a whole is going well. There is a lot to be said for consistency in small things. With boy #2 it's simply readin' writin' and 'rithmetic every day. That's a good thing for him, he's beginning to feel more confident and less contrary.

BIG NEWS!!!!! (no I am not pregnant.........but I know a lot of people who are!)

Jaylene Johnson
is going to be in concert at our church on Nov 4 at 7:30.
Price of admission: 0$$$$$$$$$ (we'll be taking an offering for her though)
She is such an excellent musician. And all this is because a dear young friend of mine liked her music and so she e-mailed her, she e-mailed back, etc., etc.

Anything else? hmmmmmmm...wanna go touch some fabric. Got a lovely little quilt developing on my sewing table and can't wait to cozy up under it. Lots of soft, muted colors, punched up with some rich blues and reds...yup, gotta go and sew......

Sunday, October 08, 2006

fresh flowers for October 8

Doors
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Thanksgiving weekend is here. I am thankful for many things today, in particular....doors. Yes, doors. How do you feel about doors? You see I've been thinking a lot about doors lately. People often talk about opportunities as doors. There is the door to your heart, to your home, closed doors, open doors and locked doors. So many different kinds it's enough to make your head spin.

Before our family is something that looks like an open door, an opportunity. We won't know for sure if it's truly an open door unless we walk through it and see what's on the other side. But should we? (We'd appreciate your prayers in this.) This is what got me thinking about these crazy doors.

Sometimes when you come upon a door it is closed, or at least appears to be. Then you feel in your pocket and remember that some time ago, a key was given to you that might just unlock that door and you should probably use it. On the other hand there are times when a door is closed because you're not supposed to go there at all. Then there's that pesky third hand that says you should test the door and see if it opens for you and if it does, to go on in. Now for the open doors....

Sure that door looks open, but wisdom will tell you that treachery and temptation can be just on the other side of that open door (take a look in Proverbs if you don't believe me). There are times when a test of our faith is underway and God is seeing what we will do in certain circumstances, ask Abraham and Isaac about their trip to Mount Moria. And, of course, there is the truly open door, the invitation of the Spirit to walk this way. This all gets a little confusing doesn't it? So what is a body to do?

Fortunately, God has given us His Spirit and His Word to guide us. He's given us the map. In Jeremiah 6:16 its says, "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for you souls." We must ask for direction. The rest of that verse says, "and you would have none of it." Ooops, that sounds a little stubborn and rebellious doesn't it? Guess if we're gonna ask, we better be prepared to obey. James also says that God will not withhold wisdom from us. He gives freely to those who ask. He also urges us to seek counsel from godly advisors, there is wisdom in it.

Ask, seek and knock. God will surely show you (and us) where the good way is. He has no desire to see us banging our heads against locked doors. He has no desire to see us get caught in temptation (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). Ask for the good way......and walk in it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ironing Heaven

After getting past the stuff that needs ironing - dress shirts and pants, was the fabric for my next quilting project. With great delight I began pressing. Pretty creams with green vines. Corally stripes with bits of blue. Soft red checks. Lovely florals in reds and corals and creams. OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH I can hardly wait to start cutting that stuff up. This makes ironing fun and a joy. Moda fabrics are soooooooooo pretty, I love the Paris Cafe collection and have just met the April Cornell line. But Moda is pretty no matter what.

Then there's the muslin, lovely creamy muslin that is getting ready for the prettiest nativity quilt. Oh yeah, I like to iron pretty things. Call me weird, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Now I'm off to finish watching The Count of Monte Cristo with Richard Chamberlain...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Precious Moments

It's moments like this that make life worthwhile:

Did you know that if you blow kisses after someone you love that they'll race to catch up with them and bring them back? This bit of wisdom was passed down from my eldest boy to his two little brothers as they stood one daying sobbing their hearts out with their noses pressed to the window as their daddy drove away. It's what they reminded me of this morning as they blew kisses to their sister as she got on the bus.

Watching my ADHD/ODD son carefully peel and chop carrots for his favorite thing - homemade chicken soup. I love working beside him in the kitchen. He was so agreeable and helpful, setting the table and making sure the soup tasted good.

Big brothers taking care of baby sisters.

Sleepy boys curling up behind your back early in the morning with their little arms around your neck.

Little girls asking if you could please pick out their clothes to where the next day as they wander off to dream land.

Two big boys who often fight over silly things helping unload the van after a long trip without dad. Watching them play cards before bed, building forts together.

These are the things that warm my heart and make motherhood and all its trials worthwhile.

thank you Jesus for moments like these.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What if.........

What if ..............?(I'm not sure I like that question)

I have one boy who really likes to ask that question, it can be annonying.
I was having my own 'What ifs' today, it was causing panic and fear to arise.
I'm thinking 'What ifs' are probably not from God because they tend to stir up panic and fear.

I suppose they don't have, too, though do they........

Sunday, September 24, 2006

country girl

Just got back from the farm again...minus one husband. It was soooooooooooo nice having him home for 10 days. It's amazing how much easier life is with two parents involved. We went to the Beechy Western Days this weekend (the Rodeo). I even worked at the concession one evening, almost feeling native. It's amazing to watch these men and women and their horses, wow, that is something I will probably never do but I sure enjoy the beauty of man and beast working together.

Got to go look at a house that we might be able to use next summer. SEVEN bedrooms, count 'em 7!! The kitchen is vintage 50's - very cool actually and HUGE, I've never seen so many cupboards in a kitchen before. We have yet to talk to the owner, just his son, so we're still waiting. It would be nice to have our own space for the next growing season. Things went really well living with Kelly's parents but we all agreed it would have been difficult for all concerned if it had gone on any longer. And that back and forth thing is nasty.

We had encouragement and release from the Lord to homeschool our french immersion girl next year and found curriculum to support that so that will make things easier, too.

I think I may learn to milk a cow next year. Yikers!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

fresh flowers for Sept 21

Forces of Energy
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original


We have just finished the harvest season out on my husband's family farm. It takes a massive amount of energy to clear the fields and ready them for next year's planting. The days are long, the nights are short. Tempers soar with heat and break-downs. Worry rises with every forbidding cloud formation. We are at the mercy of the weather and work feverishly to get the work done before the fall rains and frost hit. However, at the end of it all there are bins full of grain and pulse crops, piles of golden wheat and duram form small mountains on the yard. There is a glorious feeling that accompanies the final stalks going into the front end of a combine. So much energy, so much result. A harvest.

I am nursing an almost six month old baby. We just had a check-up yesterday and she is growing well. The nurse reminded me of how much energy this little one puts into growing and developing every moment of every day. As I was bemoaning my tired state to my husband today, he gently reminding me that I am sustaining the life of another human being directly from my energy stores. That takes a lot of work. So much energy, so much result. A healthy life.

Yesterday I witnessed an exchange between two women. One had been cut off in traffic and made it her business to let the guilty party know what she thought. Even though the woman had no idea she had committed such a heinous crime she apologized but the other 'wounded' party wouldn't let it go. She carried on, blocking traffic, oblivous to the fact that she was now in the wrong. Most likely she carried that incident into the rest of her day and let it overflow on everyone around her. So much enery, so little result.

Isn't it amazing how we can use energy in a positive or negative way? God has graciously given us breath and life and the hours in our day. I am convicted about how I spend my energy. Am I encouraging, life-giving and positive or am I belittling, draining and negative? What kind of bouquet do I present to the world around me?

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 1 Peter 1:12

Thursday, September 07, 2006

fresh flowers for Sept 6

Clean Sweep
copyright 2006, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

Life has taken on a feverish pace lately. Between running back and forth to the farm, driving back and forth to school because the bus schedule wasn't up and running, getting kids registered in activities, writing articles, doing research and starting our home school activities, not to mention the regular cooking, cleaning, refereeing and laundry...I'm pooped!!

My house has taken the brunt of the neglect (I'm pretty sure it can handle neglect better than my kids can). In one of our late night phone conversations I was lamenting the mess to my husband. It's rather discouraging. His answer, "Turn all the lights off and leave them off as much as possible, if you can't see it maybe it won't be so bad."

"Sounds good," says I, "except for one tiny problem."

"What's that?" says he.

"That big old sun coming in the window tends to illuminate things," says I.

"Got a point there," says he.

"Besides that, it may be dangerous to try and get around in here in the dark." says I.

"Guess ya better call for help," says he.

The conversation made me think of my own heart. When I get busy doing all those things listed above I sometimes forget to clean up the messes in my heart. Angry words, disappointment, gossip, slander, jealousy, if you look you'll probably find those things lurking about in the murky recesses. I try hard to keep the Son from shining in and illuminating my mess, thinking it might not be so bad if no one can see it.

The trouble with that is, it's like my messy house. If I don't get it cleaned up it's going to be dangerous, not only to me but anyone who happens to walk in. They might trip over my anger or slip on my envy. I'd rather not have anyone fall over my discouragement and get a face full of jealousy.

Just like my house, I need to get out a broom and start digging into the corners. James declares that temptation left to itself will lead to sin and then to death. James also says that if we confess that sin it will be cleaned up by the best maid in the business, and the price has been paid. It's amazing how cleanliness in my physical house tends to keep me at peace. Cleanliness in my spiritual house keeps me at peace, too.

I believe it's time to get up and grab a broom.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

fresh flowers for Aug 31

It's All About Him
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Having six children gives me a great opportunity to observe and learn about different personalities and their individual needs. I have in my menagerie:

- one intense child with a low frustration tolerance who can be very oppositional and defiant, this same child is very hospitable, generous and compassionate
- one mostly quiet child who keeps himself busy with little outside involvement but tends to give others control over his life, he is extremely inquisitive and when he wants your attention it is hard to ignore him - his voice can resemble a foghorn at times
- one child who is helpful and cheerful most of the time but when crossed can be mean and viscious, greatly concerned for the welfare of younger siblings so long as they don't take what she wants
- one clown who is stubborn as the day is long, this one is very difficult to peg down to a pattern and keeps us guessing and laughing and panicking over what he might do next
- one very helpful child who can be extremely responsible one minute and extremely irresponsible the next, easily distracted on some things and hard to break his focus on others, doesn't really care what people think of somethings and very concerned on others, a child of the pendulum swing
- We've yet to discover the personality intricacies of the baby.

Much of my time is spent just trying to keep one step ahead of this crew. I fail quite often. It seems like too much a lot of the time. Realizing how difficult it is to predict and/or meet the needs of these six individuals, how does God manage the world, not to mention the vast multitudes of the unseen host of heaven and hell? While I can sometimes guess right as to what my children need at any given moment I'm right a very small percent of the time. Our God is never wrong! He gets it right the first time every time. That is mind boggling. He quiets my anxious heart, he comforts me, he puts something funny in my path to cheer me up, he challenges me when I get lazy. And he doesn't get tired of it. All he asks is that we seek him first.

I'm afraid I'm too often like my little clown. One night I was singing to him with a vain hope that he might actually go to sleep. He had no intention of going to sleep and kept up a litany of things he'd rather be doing. I sang anyway. I was part way through, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" when I hear him mutter, "That's a stupid song." I wasn't shocked quiet, I kept singing and then started laughing. It struck my funny bone so hard I couldn't stop. The chorus goes like this, "It's all about you, Jesus. And all this is for you..." Know wonder he thought it was stupid, he wanted it to be about him and he was mad that it wasn't. I want it to be all about me a lot of the time, too. I get uptight trying to figure everyone out every day and get them what they need and then get to feeling like know one's takin' care of me. Where does this thinking get me? No where but down in the dumps. My focus has gone from seeking him first to seeking how to get myself first. But God in heaven has already seen my frustration and his answer is on the way before I have even prayed.

All of this really is for him. All the wiping of noses, cooking of meals, planning of days and moments is for him. It really isn't about me, it's about teaching my kids to see his glory and his fame. So I'll get back on my knees and ask for a little help in figuring out these six creatures and leave the rest up to him.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

on the brink of a new school year

If I was a parent like the majority of other parents I would be sending my three oldest children off to a public school tomorrow for a whole day. My fourth would be registered in a pre-school program. I could anticipate that I would have large sections of my day with only two kids to look after...if I was like the majority of folks.

But I'm not.

God has called us to home-school our two oldest boys (that's homeschool NOT school at home). He's also encouraged us to make sure our daughter is bi-lingual (French and English). Seeing how neither of us is, we are sending her to a French-immersion school. After we found a homeschool resource for immersion they encouraged us to leave her in the immersion school for several years so that she gets a good grasp of the language.

Our younger boys' education is still a mystery to us that has not been revealed...but they won't be going to pre-school.

Today, I would have gladly sent them all off just to have a little time to myself. If any of you reading this have ever experienced harvest-time on the farm you'll know that time to yourself does not exist, there is always something to do. When you have six children who invite their friends over, there is always something to do. When you have a toddler and a nursing baby there is always something to do. Needless to say I'm a little under the game. Not excited about school starting on any front - that girlie of mine would be sooooooooo easy to teach at home, she does math for fun, pages and pages of it. She's figuring out how to read and write on her own because she wants to. I'm here with the tough cookies. One who is motivated in some things and dragging his heels on others. One who is co-operative very seldom and motivated to learn things I'd rather he didn't know.

Am I a little tired and discouraged? Is this flower a tad droopy? Yup. And my friend, lover and confidante is on a combine hours away, so I can't talk to him. Guess that leaves me with the Lord to talk to, which is a pretty good thing to be left with.. maybe I'll learn something.......

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Home from the range

My little sweetie is 5 months old! She started doing the watered-down apple juice this week, holding her own bottle and even went on to her first bit of rice cereal. She is so sweet and adorable...just look at those cheeks!
We arrived home today! Have absolutely loved being out at the farm. Happy to be at home now. I was catching up on a few blogs and my friends are talking about their homes. I love my house. It is a joy to be here. Good things:
My children.
The big griddle I got for my birthday!!
Plentiful tomatoes from my garden.
Seeing my mom and dad again after a long hiatus.
High speed internet - even light is better than dial-up....how quickly we forget.
Did I mention those chubby cheeks.
Getting asked to write articles for people who will actually pay you to write them!! Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

down on the farm

Hey friends,

I haven't died or anything we're just down on the farm, enjoying life out in the country. There's a good chance I may never want to go back to city living. Actually I've never much liked it come to think of it...

Quiet
Clear Skies
Happy Kids
Happy husband
canning
sweet winds
good friends
Happy dogs

Yup, cooking, cleaning and chasing kids, that's about all I have time for right now. Harvest is in full swing, perfect weather for it, too. Breakdowns (in equipment and relationships) are difficult to deal with but everything gets repaired eventually.

Got some lovely #1 duhram, everyone's happy about that. Mustard is coming off a little sparse this evening. Yup, enjoying being a farm wife.

later

Sunday, August 13, 2006

another flower!

Could only fit 4 pictures on at a time!  Posted by Picasa

The flowers in my garden........

Quilt comes courtesy of my mom. Cute kids come courtesy of God!


 Posted by Picasa
hmmm........little quiet here.........too busy out on the farm to post much. Maybe some kid pics

Monday, July 31, 2006

fresh flowers for July 31

Prepare
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Here we are down on the farm. I am perfecting my two finger wave and getting used to continuous gravel road driving again. In our little town most everyone seems to know who I am because of my husband and his family. I, however, at am a loss as to remember who everyone else is. Perhaps by the end of my time here, I'll have them all nailed down.

We have been in a season of preparation for most of the month of July.
  • our home for hospitality
  • our hearts, to better nurture and respond to our children
  • my brain for writing an article
  • moving out to the farm for a month
  • getting business stuff ready for fall
  • working out our financial picture for the next few months
  • music for a video
  • my body for life in general
  • fruit for the winter (canning)
  • chickens and beef
  • vegetables (freezing and canning)
  • jam

There's probably more but I can't think of anymore right now. I feel very in tune with all the little ants that have crossed my floors this summer. One day when I was particularly tired and taking a break on the couch I watched a lone ant carry a tremendous load across my living room floor. It was fascinating. That load was at least twice as big as the ant. It was slow going but that little ant persevered. I hope he got where he was heading.

Sometimes I feel like that little ant, carrying a load that is so huge I can hardly see around it. I meander across the path, unable to see where I am going, losing my way and taking much longer than a straight, clear path would afford. The good news for today is that we have it better than the ants!! Yes sir, we have a God who said He'd carry the burden for us. Isn't that grand?

This God of ours also told us to prepare. We must prepare for His coming, storing up treasure inHeaven for that glorious day when He comes for His bride. Prepare people, store up good things, get your hearts ready. REPENT (there's always something to repent of it seems)!!

This flower is taking on the characteristics of a meandering path. Methinks I'm too tired to write conherently. So I'll leave you with what's there so far and call it a day.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

midnight pilates

I wasn't going to pilates at midnight again but here I am, jogging around the blogging world rather than stretching my core muscles out....oh well....off I go on my quest for a stronger, leaner body.

Monday, July 24, 2006

fresh flowers for July 24

Yours, Mine and Ours
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original
(co-authored by Kelly Wiens)

I have dreams. My husband has dreams. We have dreams. How can we possibly accomplish all that we dream. In two words or less...we can't. So then, how are these dreams that are so much a part of us going to happen, particularly if we're convinced they are given by the Dreamgiver, Himself? It's not that hard actually, we simply serve someone else's dream. Oh I can hear the HUH? from here!! Seems confusing doesn't it? Seems like a formula destined to failure. Sounds like something completely opposite from all the 'Look our for #1' and 'if you don't take care of yourself no one else will' stuff that we're fed on a continuous basis from our society.

It's actually a very biblical concept. Jesus said, "If you want to be great in my kingdom learn to be the servant of all." and then He proceeded to show them how it was done. To give you a slightly more here and now example, I would like to take you through a week in the life of the Flowerlady and her Musicman.

One week Flowerlady and Musicman set aside time to work on projects around their home. They had a very long list that didn't look possible. They determined that they would do what they could. In their own hearts, without speaking to each other about it, they determined that they wouldn't demand anything of the other so that each could do what was on their list. Flowerlady was working on the basement organization and Musicman was determined to re-build the play structure they'd had to dismantle when they moved. Their hearts were full of joy as they worked each in their own space.

Musicman hit a snag in his plans. He really needed to go and do some work on the church building, it wasn't in the plans for the week, but felt He needed to do it first, so he gave that time to the Lord. God blessed Him for his effort and sent a friend to help him with the play structure for two days. This friend came with extra screws, some essential tools to do the job, strong arms, good ideas and companionship.

Flowerlady ran into problems in the basement, there were things she couldn't lift or move by herself. She had set her heart on having this space all cleaned up and ready for a special crafty day and it didn't seem like that could possibly happen. There were just too many pieces she couldn't do by herself and she wasn't going to take the Musicman away from his project. So she released that dream to the Lord and determined to be content with whatever she could get done. When her Musicman asked how things were coming she let him know that there were a few things that she couldn't move but didn't demand or even ask that he move them. Later on Musicman needed to come in for some piece of the play structure. He remembered the Flowerlady's dilema and moved a few boxes out of the way.

It wasn't long after that, that he had to come back again and felt very convicted to move a few more things around. Then the two of them started working together and it wasn't long before the basement was at a place where the Flowerlady could finish it by herself and the Musicman could go back to his work. Neither one of them would have been able to move those items by themselves, working together was essential.

Later on in the week, Musicman needed to meet a payment deadline for his business and run some errands He had been determined to do this himself and was getting worried that he wouldn't get everything finished on the play structure AND do the errands. The Flowerlady noticed that he was getting a little stressed. She realized that her mission and dream had been accomplished and so she had the time to do the errands. The offer was made and accepted. The payment deadline, the errands and Musicman's birthday gifts were all accomplished in a short time allowing him to keep going on his project.

It was Thursday night. The Flowerlady had a regular commitment to quilt with her girlfriends on Thursday evenings. When she saw that the Musicman was behind on his project she willingly gave up her quilting night so that he could keep working and not have to stop to look after the children. However, because she served the Musicman's need to do the errands and pay the bill, he was able to keep working. He came in for supper and announced that he would be done shortly and that she would be able to go after all. He was satisified with his accomplishemnt and spent a lovely evening with the children while the Flowerlady went to meet with her friends. And they lived happily ever after........for that evening anyway. And that is just the beginning of this story.

Sometimes we figure we need to do OUR thing or OUR thing will not happen because somebody else's thing is happening instead. We are learning that when we serve someone else, what we desire seems to rise out of nowhere and come to fruition. It is how Jesus lived his life, and how we want to live ours. That does not give us license to use other people to climb our way over their hurting dreams to reach our own. Oh no, that is not the way of love. Our own dreams must be given up to the Dreamgiver who will blow on those cold embers and bring them to life at the proper time. Submit to [or serve] one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) That means, "I will come under you and lift you up knowing that in due time, the Lord will bring someone under me to lift me up. He is the lifter of my head - not me.

Galatians 6:2 "Carry each other's burdens for this way you'll fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 5:13 "You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love."

Musicman Note: Sometimes we as men think that because we are the head of our home and our wives are supposed to submit to us that our wives exist solely to help us fulfill our dreams. The verse from Ephesians 5, submit to each other out of reverance for Christ helps us remember that we are to mutually serve or submit to each other because we have a common head in Christ who gives dreams and visions to both equally. For my wife's dreams to come to fruition I must lay my life down, my ambitions, my current goals as I hear the Lord say, "Serve your wife now in what SHE is doing and trust ME to help you get your dream done on time."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hot

My goodness, almost a whole week without posting, something is quite possibly wrong with me. No, not really, just busy being a domestic wonder woman. I've been canning fruit, making jam and killing chickens - preparing for winter, just like all the pretty little ants running through my kitchen. My precious boy turned 4 today so we had to have a party, his first one, very low key - went to a near by body of water with a friend or two and stayed cool and ate cake. I'm sure there are flowers growing in there somewhere but right now I'm really too tired to go searching for them.

My actual flower gardens are looking pretty scary. It's been so hot everything is wilting, including me!! My vegetable garden is looking fabulicious, however. We've eaten lettuce, beans and peas out of there...yum, yum!! My poor house on the other hand has been sadly neglected and must come back into order tomorrow.

I also have to find my post about the new superhero I created...she's called Domestic Diva.........and I don't know where I put her.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Quilting Questions

I am SOOOO excited. I get to combine to of my passions into one! Writing and quilting and I would like your help whether you're a quilter or not.

I'm looking for thoughts on quilts and quilting. I'm writing an article on quilting for a new magazine that's coming out in the fall and would like answers to the following questions:

What does a quilt say to you?

Why bother quilting anyway?

I'd like lots of comments to draw on so please pass this on or post a link, thanks!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

the holiday is over

okay, my little holiday is over (sigh)....it was really nice having my husband and kids around doing family things. Lounging, reading till my eyes fell out and trying not to cook too much. Here's how it looked, not that you're all that interested but for posterity I'll tell ya anyway. At least Wanda will know what we did while she was reading all my glorious books...

* Kelly and the boys came home from their camping trip with healthy tans and had lots of fun.
* We went to the University to gander at the dinosaur skeletons, geodes and fish. We had a picnic and had foot races in the bowl on the spot where Kelly and I met. My little girl is fast!!
* Waterpark in the back yard, thanks to my smart, tall, dark and handsome man. Then to the Diefenbaker Center to see an exhibit Mennonites in Saskatchewan - very neat to show the kids some of our history.
* Daddy and mommy get to go on a date while friends come to watch the kids - we go the art gallery and then have delightful snacks while the rain pours down. We take ourselves to the library and read right there - so quiet without the children.
* Clean like crazy. Go to the library for a music/story/puppet thingy. Then home to make supper for our friends coming from Winnipeg. Such a good visit. reading
* Saturday - off to Kinsmen park to play in the water after chasing the dogs around for awhile. So much fun. Then home to jump on the trampoline (yes I did Holly, with the necessary precautions taken of course), have a fire and enjoy the evening together. reading lots
* worship with the family, birthday party with friends and then home, listening to the children play, reading more.

Oh yeah, lots of sitting around and reading, gotta love that. I think I read 4 novels in about 6 days......crazy........lazy holidays.

Now I gotta snap into super organizer mode to get an article written and get ourselves and our house ready for us to temporarily move to the farm (temporary as in about a month's worth of move) for harvest..........but first, what to have for supper

Thursday, July 13, 2006

fresh flowers for July 14

Committment - The Up Side
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Seems to me that the only committment people aren't too scared to try is a new hair colour and for some even that is pushing it. I thought it might be a good idea to talk about the positive side of committment. Especially since I just made a committment to myself and to my friend. It isn't a big committment in the grand scheme of things but for me, personally, it will most likely pay off big time if I keep my committment.

I, Lani Wiens, have committed to exercise, can you imagine, yet another thing most of us aren't really very eager to sign up for. I know it isn't earth shattering but it's big for me. My dear friend forced herself into my living room, pilates CD in hand and made me go through this thing (very gently and lovingly of course). She told me I should commit to at least twice a week and then work my way up to a bigger committment. However, I know myself, if I don't stick that 20 minute workout into my daily routine it will not happen at all! So far, so good, it's been four whole days that I've managed to do it. My stomach muscles aren't sure what hit them. My foot that's been sore since I had Elizabeth is noticeably improved. Tada! There is the moral of this story.

Commitment can pay off long term (I may have stomach muscles that work again one day) and have immediate - my foot, (though possibly painful - did I mention my stomach muscles) good effects at the same time. Committment takes work. There's no way to make that any prettier. That CD won't do me an ounce of good unless I get down on the floor and do the work. I can live with it for as long as I want. I can even listen to it or watch my daughter do it (who needs no help with her stomach muscles) and it still won't have any lasting effect on me. I must jump in and do the work in order to enjoy the payoff.

Committment in my marriage is the same way. It can be painful at times. It takes work to make something of this relationship. But the truth is, God brought my husband and I together for a purpose that is beyond ourselves. At the risk of sounding egotistical, He has made us a gift to the world (the same is true for you). If we renege on our committment the extent of that will never be realized. If we stick with our committment we will be a blessing to our children, they will learn what it means to be committed and will most likely become committed people. The world will be a better place by six more committed people. That's a pretty good dividend and incentive for us.

Committment to the spiritual family I am a part of works the same way. The gifts that God has placed in me will never be fully realized if I am not fully known by the spiritual family that I adhere to. To be fully known takes committment to live in that community no matter what. There was a time when we left that community, we broke that committment and we can still feel the effects of it many years later. By the same token, as we get to know others we can help them realize their giftings and callings. We grow community through committment.

Committment is a good thing. Sure it's scary and there's some hard work involved but it's worth it. If you're still not convinced look at the ultimate long term perspective of God's committment to you and I personally. His committment to us allows us to continue breathing and blinking. His committment came at great personal sacrifice (most do). His committment to us will ensure that there is something for us beyond the grave. His committment to saving as many as possible keeps Him from judging us all right this second and gives us a chance to get some things right.

Like I said, committment is a good thing. Let it grow in your garden. Cultivate it and you will reap a good reward.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Glorious Weekend

My crafty weekend is officially over. My boys are all home and I'm thrilled to see them. They're all tanned and sparkly eyed with their adventures. My weekend was a little quieter but oh so good. I wish I had the pictures developed already but I don't. So here are a few highlights:

1. My friend Holly and her little girl slept over on Friday night so we had a little picnic in the living room and told the little girls stories about themselves from when they were babes.

2. I did shrink art with the girls so that they could make bracelets for their friends the next day.

3. Saturday morning, the ladies begin to come.

4. I get to help my friend Audrey with her quilting project.

5. So many fun friends trickle through throughout the day. Over a dozen people came throughout the day!

6. The little girls carried our welcome sign out to the sidewalk to make sure everyone saw it. We put Ecc 3:1 - "There is a time for EVERY purpose under heaven." on it and made sure that the boys knew they could only enter if they were bringing treats!

7. So much laughter, discussion of women things. Projects taking shape a little at a time. Clothing passed along. Shared wisdom and help. Snacks. Fruit and cheese shish-ka-bobs!

8. I even got the valance for my living room finished.

On Sunday Marilee picked us up for church and then we went to her place for a delightful lunch. Then it was home for quiet space. Just us three girls. Abby and I started in on her hugs and kisses quilt. that little six year old has perseverance she cut out all of the 50 some applique pieces while I cut the backgrounds. She learned how to iron and faithfully pressed all the background fabric and then applied the appliques.

We read lots of "I Spy" books and other stories. We all slept in the same room. This morning my dear friend came to teach us how to do a stretching and strengthening excercise - pilates style. Lovely. Today we hung out and kept working on her quilt. I napped.

So happy to see our van drive up. My 10 year old looks taller and considerably browner for his week at camp and being dad's right hand man this week-end. He loved his week at camp and though he was full of his stories he remembered to ask me what crafty things I had done and complimented me on it when I showed it to him. I love that boy. I missed him so much. Glad to have him home....

Feeling refreshed and ready to get back to family life.

Friday, July 07, 2006

IT'S STARTING

Okay, it has officially begun.............a girlie weekend!!!!!! I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Big girl is out playing with her friend that's sleeping over. Little girl is sleeping. I am not being asked for anything, nobody is saying, "Are you done on the computer yet?" No one is fighting, crying or spilling anything. It's shockingly quiet. I can hear the hum of the fan and the computer.

My big boy is done camp today. Tornadoes are touching down near the camp. That's not great. Boy #2 is not excited about their camping trip cause he's scared to death, he'll get over it as soon as they can light a fire somewhere!

This almost feels like a little freedom, I could get giddy, it may go to my head...I can now go and tidy up all my hotspots with the hope that they may stay clear until Monday. If they don't there's only me and my girl to blame.

Crafty weekend here we come!!!

Birthdays, Progress, Stitches

Here is my sweet little angel under a gorgeous quilt that my momma made for her before we knew she was a SHE! Our play structure is up and the kids can play on it! Needs paint and a few adjustments but it's good to go for the moment. Right now, I gotta go make breakfast in bed for my 36 year old husband! It's his birthday today!! This evening he heads out with the boys on their annual camping trip. The girls and I are having a crafty weekend. My little angel is soooooooooooooooo excited to do crafts with mom all weekend. And she gets her stitches out of her knee today.............all 14 of them.........she's thrilled about that, too. She'll be free to swim again.

Gotta go stir those eggs!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Progress Report - Day 3

At the end of Day 3, we are hot and tired! BUT....

Our basement is looking mighty fine. The main part has only 2 boxes left to unpack, the laundry area still needs quite a bit of organization but it's getting better, too!
The canning jars are on the canning jar shelf and not in boxes.
The coolers have found a happy home.
I sorted all the little boxes of sundry toy parts that have been plaguing me and all those toys are happily stored in shelving units in the basement - you can't even see them when you go down!
I found my shoes!!! My favorite pair of comfy shoes have been missing since we moved.
The deck is fixed, no more holes to fall in.
Laundry is very under control.

Organization is a good thing!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

PROGRESS REPORT - DAY 2

So here's what we've been able to accomplish so far!!!

Two platforms with a bridge in between are up!
The cold storage room is ready for receiving canning!
The floor in our daughter's closet is finished.
A shelving unit went into her room after a major decluttering and cleaning took place.
We found the girlie's summer clothes.
We found the little boy's summer clothes.
We uncovered the bikes in the garage.
The lost garage keys were found!!
5 baskets of laundry were folded.
The upstairs got vacuumed.
The lawn is mowed.
Our cash flow planning is back up and running (took a horrible hiatus after E. showed up) - very bad to live with no cash flow plan when you are finally used to one, very stressful.

More to come...........wish we had a digital camera and we could visualize this process for you!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Holidays

We are on holidays. Not the kind where you go away to some exotic place, just stayin' in our own back yard, literally. Our back yard is nasty and in need of great help. THat's our mission for this week...

We will, if the Lord allows:

1. re-invent our play structure (it's all in pieces)
2. build a wood crib for all the piles of firewood floating around the yard
3. consolidate all the piles of firewood into the woodcrib
4. borrow a working lawnmower and mow the grass
5. fill in all the holes that our boys have dug
6. haul in sand or some other substance for the play area
7. paint the garden fence
8. re-build the fire pit
9. lay down a walkway from the deck to the back fence
10. fix the deck

However, we don't want to be working the whole time!! We intend to have fun with friends and family, too.

We've already celebrated Canada Day with our dear friends, took in the fireworks and have shared a fireside with more of our spiritual family while fighting off mosquitoes and eating s'mores. I"m so glad to have my husband home during the day. I'm very spoiled. He's worked out of our house for most of our married life, but when May comes, he dons his painting cap and heads out the door most days. I miss him dreadfully and so do the kids, so we're just tickled to have his hairy face here each day!

My big boy is at camp for the week...I miss him already!
I'm hoping to do some sewing this week...spend time at the pool and help in the yard.

I think I'll find a different kind of tea to drink each day. Today's tea, kids tea, Tutti Frutti. Very pretty color. The leaves are really pretty, too. No caffiene. And tastes...fruity!! Heard of a new way to make ginger tea that I'm gonna have to try so that's going on my list...

mmmmmmmmm..........more restful around here............now if only we could find the garage keys!!

Friday, June 30, 2006

fresh flowers for June 30

The Treasure In Your Hand
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

I love stories. Perhaps that's why I write. I'm guessing there are other people like me out there who learn better when the lesson is couched in pictures and imagery that soften the edges of the lesson and allow it to penetrate my heart and mind. Yesterday I finished reading a wonderful story on the way home from the lake. The lessons learned are ones that will take a lifetime to live out. There were two big ones in there and I hope that I can present them to you here so that you don't all have to go out and find the book.

The two go hand in hand. The first comes from Ephesians, we have been loved extravagantly by Christ and are commanded to love like that. Christ's focus was 'the people' we need to be people of the people, loving close up without worrying about what we might get in return. The second is like it, there is a hidden treasure in your hand that is only yours to give, don't keep it to yourself.

So how do we do that? We need to 'see' people, really see them. What does their heart need that you and I can give? Perhaps it will be practical, perhaps it will be silent, ask the Lord to show you what is needed. Ask Him to show you how to love.

Then there is this treasure business. What treasure are we holding in our hand, tucked away from view that we could give to someone else today. It may be forgiveness for an old wound. Perhaps it is letting go of something that you've been hanging on to. Maybe it is as simple as a smile or a story read when asked.

Love extravagantly. Live with an open hand. Share the treasure that is in you. Those are the flowers for today.

Friday, June 23, 2006

fresh flowers for June 23

The Care and Keeping of an Idea
copyright 2006, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

I am an ideas person married to a visionary. Sometimes that can spell trouble. We've had to wade our way through many ideas gone awry where flesh overtook Spirit and created a mess. I hope that the illustration that's popped up in my garden will perhaps bring clarity and hope to other visionary/idea type people who've had their noses bruised on brick walls a few too many times.

We're going to use the analogy of having a baby. I'm very familiar with the sequence of events that goes into that process so it was easy to fit this little lesson into that framework.

Our idea is conceived, quite possibly an immaculate conception because most of our ideas stem from the hand of our Father's creative juices. He plants a seed of an idea in our belly and it begins to make itself known. Some of us are very careful with our ideas, not letting anyone know about it until we are absolutely sure we're safe...Only to find out that there really isn't a 'safe' time and ideas can come to ruin at any time for any number of reasons. Some of us shout our idea from the roof tops we are so excited about it and then have to get our feet back under us while the reality of the idea that something is brewing sets in.

It is here that the arm of flesh sometimes gets in the way and we lose our focus, forgetting why we're in this thing in the first place. Since we are pregnant we know that we are going to grow bigger, our fickle mind thinks that perhaps a bigger body requires a bigger bed. After all rest and comfort are essential for the growing of an idea. We put our energy into getting the bigger bed. When that is accomplished we admire this new thing and soon we realize that the room the bed is occupying is far too small. Hmmmmmmmmmm

Do we take out a wall or would it be more prudent to invest in a bigger house all together, you never know how big that idea could get, you want it to have lots of room to grow so that it won't be hampered in any way. In the midst of that rabbit trail you wonder if you should build or buy. Building would of course require a property, and where should that property be located? Buying requires consideration of location, size and cost of the inevitable renovation and upgrades, not to mention that all of this requires financing and many long discussions with bankers and financial advisors. We won't even mention the need for accessories, helpers and deadlines. In the meantime that little idea is gestating and getting closer to its' birth date completely oblivious to our frantic efforts.

By now we are in waaaaaaaaaaay over our heads, completely overwhelmed with all that goes into having a little idea. Immense amounts of energy and time have gone into research about all the accoutrements required to have an idea. We realize it is way too expensive, there is no way we have the resources to pull this off, perhaps we need to get into fundraising. We size things up and decide the plan is to difficult to accomplish with such a small team and in such a short time frame. How is this ever going to work? (Storm clouds are gathering!) Who thought this up in the first place? How can I gracefully back out after I've announced to everyone that an idea was on the way? Is the idea even still there, when was the last time we had it checked to see if it was okay? Has it managed to survive all of this extra energy output or has all this effort going to give birth to nothing? As it says in Isaiah, will we give birth to the whirlwind? Something that sucks up everything in its' path only to scatter it abroad where it doesn't belong? For the sake of this analogy we will keep our idea alive.

And then the labour pains hit. The time has come for that idea to be born. It cannot wait any longer the time has come whether we are ready or not. Suddenly all that other stuff falls away and becomes unimportant. All our energy and focus is on this moment. We are convicted of our wayward focus, we realize where our energy should have been going. Our idea could have had a better introduction to the world, maybe it isn't quite as healthy as it could have been due to our distraction. But here it is anyway, we heave a sigh marveling at the miracle of it all. The realization of what is truly important overwhelms us. We could have been resting, trusting, anticipating with joy this idea, instead we were distracted by many things. We grieve over the loss. But there is good news...

Many are the plans of a man's heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
No knowledge can set itself up against the purpose of the Lord.
Commit your plans to the Lord and they will succeed.
Submit yourself to the Lord, resist the devil and he will flee from you.
No weapon formed against you can prosper.
His plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

These are all promises from the scriptures. If God has set out to bring something forth it will happen. Much of the time these distractions are not from the Lord but a tool of the enemy to get our energies going where they don't belong so that when the times comes you can't do what you're called to do. We are too tired, too overwhelmed, we have set our mind and heart on auto-pilot and hope that no one will notice we're not tuned in.

We must be wise, listening to the Lord, waiting for Him to accomplish His good purpose in and through us. He will give us all we need to bring His ideas to birth. Sometimes the birth of an idea has to wait a very long time. The Lord is patient with us, waiting for us. His ideas are precious to Him and He will accomplish it. The arm of flesh can get in the way, it can make things difficult when we try to bring something to birth at the wrong time. We must submit ourselves to the Lord first of all. In repentance and rest are our salvation. In due time He will do it. Now that is good news!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Great Baby Race

After finding out that we are gaining noteriety through the comments section on CareBear's blog I thought that perhaps I needed to say something about the family planning issue.

Much like Firestarter and Carebear we had a long journey to get to the point we are now. We started out with that dreaded hormonal soup called The Pill. That didn't last very long since we read that Mary Pride book Camille was talking about. However, after that, nothing happened for another 3 years! No babies, but lots of praying. Kelly had to have surgery to correct an issue that seemed to be blocking the baby train. That surgery worked and we were expecting very soon after.

It was another 4 years until blessing #2 arrived.

#3 is now in position #2 and came as a result of our foster care years. He slid nicely into place between our biological children at a 2 year interval.

#4 came along 2 years after that and #5 17 months later. Those two years were extremely stressful and traumatic for us due to the health challenges of #4 and then having another baby so soon afterwards. I went into a post-partum depression and didn't want to have any more babies. We started exploring ways to stop the train.

Instead God stopped us from stopping the train. Three times we made appointments and three times He shut us down. It just wasn't the right thing to do for us at that time. There was a time when I felt very judgemental towards people who glibly cut things off. However, God began to teach me how each family is different, each one has their load limit. He has designed each of us differently and has different purposes for each family.

While we grappled with NOT cutting things off I lived in fear that I'd get pregnant again, not really good for the romantic side of married life. We finally wrestled through with God and realized that we needed to get back to a place of trusting God with our fertility and the possibility that He might want us to embrace more children. As my heart changed I got excited about the possibility of another one and then suddenly I was pregnant again, though I had an overwhelming sense of doom right from the beginning.

12 weeks later I miscarried our little Channah. I had no idea that losing a child could be so devastating. There's plenty of people who say that you couldn't really be so attached to someone you have never met, but my heart said differently. That baby (we think of her as a girl) is no less my daughter than the precious gift that God gave us after her home-going. We now have baby #7 in our midst and we felt very strongly that she was the end of our natural born children.

We very cautiously talked with our doctor and prayed and prayed and prayed. We are convinced that ending our fertile years with another bit of surgery was what the path held for us. There are many reasons for that, mostly physical ones, NOT financial ones. We are at peace about that decision. HOWEVER, it doesn't mean we won't welcome children into our home by other means. We frequently have 2-6 children in our backyard. They are part of our family. We have many nieces and nephews who are part of our family. We have friends kids who are part of our family. We may adopt, it's a dream of ours to have an international household.

So be prepared people. Just because you won't see me with a pregnant belly again doesn't mean we won't have more children...the race is still on!!!

new blog

There's a new blog in town, my friend Darcie is over in Africa and I'm helping her report on her trip...you can view Beyone Me at http://beyondmedarcie.blogspot.com

check it out

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Okay, that last post was a little depressing so I figured I better get something a little more positive on here!!

In Praise of Men
©2006, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

In the last couple of decades men have taken a beating. They’ve been belittled, emasculated and found wanting. The female race has declared their independence and superiority, claiming that they don’t want, need or even like men. I would like to be a voice that differs. I would like to declare that not only am I happy to have men around in my life, I need them and want them there. I cannot do life by myself.

Father’s Day is just passed and I couldn’t help but think about all the men that God has put into my life over the years. They have been supportive, caring, protecting and helpful. They have been strong, directive and influential. They have been nurturing, loving and tender. They have been warriors, leaders and providers. These men have been my husband, my fathers, my brothers, my pastors and teachers, my friends, my spiritual brothers and fathers. All of these men have profoundly affected my life and I am so grateful for them. Please note that I am not married to all of these men, just one, but I am deeply thankful for all these male relationships.

As women we may think we can do without these hairy creatures (okay so not all of them are hairy). We can’t! We can limp along and make it look like we’re okay for awhile but in the end, we are not as good as we think we are.

I’ve recently read the book, “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldridge, in it Stasi talks specifically about men who can care for you that are not your husband in a pure relationship. I have experienced this as well through our church family. We tend to be so careful and fearful of something bad happening or being said that we cut ourselves off from these wonderful relationships.

Anyways, I just want to thank God for all the men in my life, past, present and future and to say thank you to them for their influence and input into my life!

Monday, June 19, 2006

pray for us losers!!

My husband and I have determined that we are losers! In the truest sense of the word, we have been losing things lately and can't find important things that we need for our life and livelyhood.

As well, our equipment is in need of help, restoration and replacement we have had issues with:

* our computer
* Kelly's keyboard
* my sewing machine
* our camera (that one was an easy fix)
* our lawnmower - the electric one needs serious help and the gas one we inherited with the house doesn't really work either
* our van has been in the garage three times in the past month
* my faulty serger is now completely defunct
* our living room light switch makes it look like we have a disco in here when we're trying to get the light to stay on
* the towel bar fell off the wall
* the washing machine leaks and something is stuck in the pump
* the dryer squeals like a little piggy
* our son ripped the seal off the bottom of the shower stall
* our roof still isn't completely free of drips

So add that to being losers and we're feeling a little overwhelmed with life because life is messy and trying to clean it up is like shoveling in a snowstorm. I won't even mention the backyard and it's needs.

Okay, that was really depressing, sorry....I'm sure I'll find something to be happy about in all this, I'm sure character and faith are being forged and all that, in the meantime I'm going to get my shovel....at least I remembered my password for getting on here, yesterday I couldn't....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

fresh flowers for June in general!!

Where Are Your Resources Directed?
copyright, Lani Wiens, 2006
a fresh flowers original


My children tested me on longsuffering yesterday and I even learned something from it. Here were the ingredients to their recipe...

3 days of rain followed by a sunny day
5 cabin-feverish kids
2-4 neighborhood kids
1 pile of sand/mud
1 garden hose
1 large tub
1 tub
1 shower (remove the seal from the bottom of the shower door)
0 clean towels

mix together thoroughly until each child is covered head to toe in mud/sand, place 2-3 children in large tub and mix thoroughly with clean water (reserve 1 child for an extra special coating of the mud mixture)

When the extra mud child stands hollering at the door because he is freezing cold, remain calm, continue to nurse the baby, call your husband to see if he is coming home SOON!! and don't look.

Listen to your daughter take care of her brother's needs as she gets him to the shower and helps him turn it on.

Listen to their conversation as water pours out the bottom of the shower door and they try to sop up the mess while 2 other children throw water on the floor from the tub simply because it's fun.

Thank God that your husband is pulling into the driveway. Thank God even more that he heads directly to the bathroom to assess the damage

Continue to nurse the baby and keep your mouth shut because you don't want to ruin all the fun they had even though the mess is really catastrophic.

Put the baby down while you go to see if it's really as bad as your husband's exclamations make it seem.

It's worse!

The mess is finally cleaned up, the kids are clean and tucked into bed.

The husband tells you why the mess was so bad, the shower head was pointed directly at the door of the shower. It was like Niagra Falls coming out the bottom.

The Moral of this story is:

Resources and energy when aimed in the wrong direction create a big mess. (also make sure you fix the seal on the bottom of the shower door as soon as you know there's a problem)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

fresh flowers for June 3

scattered wildflowers
non original thoughts

Getting to this spot to write has NOT been easy. Our main computer bit the dust and so did I in a manner of speaking. But God is faithful and He has refreshed me with His word and so I wanted to share some of the seeds and transplants that have landed on the soil of my heart. I pray my soil is fertile and that yours will be as well.

Wildflower 1
It is a wonderfully pleasant aroma to our Father when we exercise our faith and believe what He says. Faith without works is a dead thing, not producing life. Stacey Campbell was speaking at a conference in our fair city last weekend and this was her message. "Take it up a level!" Believe God for more of His Spirit at work in you.

Wildflower 2
We are in a war and we had better be prepared to fight. This is no time for spiritual coasting. If we are coasting we will not be in tune with God, we will cease to hear His voice (I know this from personal experience). The intimacy that comes from spending time with Him will fade. When we are actively seeking His guidance, walking through the battlefield we will meet with Him.

Wildflower 3
Be anxious for nothing and LIGHTEN UP! Not only do we need to lighten up in the aspect of not taking ourselves so seriously, we need to lighten up as in casting our cares on Him. Lighten the burden. In the words of Joyce Meyer, "There is an anointing on TODAY!" We need to enjoy this moment today because tomorrow will have something else to enjoy. I personally get way to intense and burdened with my load. I look at all that I don't accomplish in a day, and the many failures and messes that I've created and get downhearted. I miss the joys of caring for my kids (they don't seem to mind the mess - except when they can't find something). I miss the wonder of a beautiful day as I bog myself down in self-pity.

God cares for little ol' me, here in my little ol' house surrounded by my kids and all the neighbourhood kids, the laundry, the ironing and the mending. He is helping me fight the battle in my home and on my street. He is giving me faith to believe that the attack of the enemy we are currently walking through will be a war that is won by Him. He will make my hands strong for battle and give me faith to believe. He will give it to you, too!

Happy wildflower day!

Friday, May 19, 2006

fresh flowers for May 19

LOOK
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original


You can't find what you're not looking for!

I have a certain species in my home which shall remain unidentified in a vain effort to retain their privacy that cannot find a bloomin' thing. On the other hand my daughter and I seem to know where everything is, or at least are expected to. I don't know how many times I have had someone yelling for a shoe, a book or a jacket that they can't find only to come into the room and see what they're looking for directly at their feet and a little to the left. If they don't see what they're looking for in a cursory glance of the room using their 'round the corner' vision they can't possibly find it!

My favorite line is, "Look with your eyes open."

My point is best illustrated by my 2 year old. He wanted to know where his punch buggy was. I could see it from where I was sitting directly behind his head on the antique sewing machine. I tried for 15 minutes to get him to simply turn around and look but was completely unsuccessful. It was very frustrating.

I wonder how God feels when people run around saying they can't see Him in all the things that are going on in our world these days. He is most likely shouting, "I'm right here if you'd only open your eyes!" God is here, involved in every minute detail of our lives, caring, carrying, soothing, guiding. HE IS HERE right under our noses, in our hearts, surrounding us with Himself.

His word says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

My dear friends, "Look with your heart open!" you will surely find Him today.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

give me a break!!

My mom subscribes to a parenting magazine (not for her, she could write the thing) that she passes on to me...

I was attempting to read it after breakfast this morning, the kids had all eaten already, or so I thought. The minute I sat down with my cup of tea there were three of them wanting a banana opened, wanting their own cup of tea, burping elegantly across the table. In the midst of the mileau I happened to read a couple of ads that just about made me joke!

Ridiculous Ad #1 - a highchair (we will not use brand name so I don't get sued or something)

Picture 1 - trim, coifed and perfectly dressed momma with ankles crossed perched on the side of a high stool is feeding little man who is perfectly coifed, clean and accomodating.

Picture 2 - trim, coifed and perfectly dressed momma sits with trim, coifed and perfectly dressed dad and trim, coifed and clean perfectly dressed little men in said highchair turned toddler seat at.......get this.......a GLASS table eating a molded dessert with mint leaf and orange curls on.....GLASS plates. There is not a smidgen of dinner anywhere on that table or on that kid. NOt a hair is out of place....I gagged and scoffed........

Riciculous Ad #2 - a mini-van (once again I'll forgo the brand)

An airport cart is parked alongside loading luggage. (now that bit would be reality for our family, we need almost that size of a cargo bay now) However, the van's amenities were many and the big line was that it was the 'perfect family size' vehicle. I couldn't help but misconstrue that to mean, "Don't bother buying this thing unless you've only got 3 or less children." The kicker line for me........For families who like to live large!

Go figure..........